Sitting on the windward side, dreaming of the lee.
Hello from the penultimate week of classes, in which everything is happening too much. The grading is piling up; the e-mails grow altogether more frazzled; the committee work abhors a vacuum. The good thing is that the good things are also happening so much—awards ceremonies and performances and playoff hunts and truly cool final projects are already in progress. But much is much, no matter how it’s construed, and this has been a hard, hard year, even though it’s a scant five months old.
Still, by the next Loomings, it will be finals week here, a few short days to commencement, and looking beyond the piles of grading and e-mails feels possible. Eventually.
In the garage, a stack of lumber waits to be converted into new raised garden beds. Those beds will want more dirt; the phone number for the garden center hangs on the refrigerator. A box of bulbs I should have planted months ago rests atop the bare and scarred table I stripped the old paint from in October. The quart of sapphire blue satin it’s meant to wear is just there. Stacks of books that I order and re-order grow on my bookshelves’ fore edges. (I re-complicate the stacks every other day because April’s been a pretty great bookmail month.) A tally of last year’s precious summer fruit still safe in the freezer hangs by the garden center phone number for the days I can imagine my way toward one last little batch of jam or the kind of tart assembly those black raspberries deserve.
This is all to say nothing of the sweater’s-worth of pewter gray wool to be spun (which is totally different, emotionally speaking, from the two-ounce bumps of soft, bright color that become yarn for the pleasure of their becoming), the warps I mean to wind, the knee-gapped jeans, the buttonless cuffs—the things that never quite rise to the level of need to be done, certainly not in the way that can work themselves onto my school year to-do list. Something else is always more pressing.
And something else will rise and displace a lot of these possibles, day to day: the course-prep for fall, the administrative tasks I promised to do in some fit of exuberance in January, advising and reviewing and you know how it goes. But for the moment, sitting on the windward side of May, simply knowing there is a leeward is just about enough.
What are the possibles you’re looking forward to? And if you’re not living and dying by the academic calendar, what about the possibles of your warm-weather days?
What I’m making: I’m still knitting away on my log cabin blanket. Someone this weekend asked if I was knitting a pot-holder, so there’s your measure of how much knitting time I’ve been having lately. For that reason I’m sharing a little something from my possibles stash: roughly seven feet of tablet-woven band, not quite an inch wide. A cotton and linen blend, this band is presently intended for another of my long-term plans: trim for a shirt I’ve been designing in my head for ages. First, I have to weave the yardage—or rather second, I have to weave the yardage, and first, I have to finish the pair of scarves currently on my floor loom.
What I’m reading: To say I’m “reading” it when I’m really just stealing the most furtive and frantic bites whenever I can is perhaps disingenuous, but I have been looking forward to Nicola Griffith’s Spear so much. (And what it’s doing above all is making me froth a little more in anticipation of Griffith’s sequel to Hild.)
What I’m writing: Thanks to Matt Bell and this Twitter thread, I’ve embarked on a “work on my novel every workday that remains between now and semester’s end” challenge.
This is something I usually do, but I’ll admit that March and early April have been a rough go. A few late nights due to sickness meant I slept instead of wrote because aggressive sleeping is the only thing that speeds me toward wellness. A non-zero number of mornings saw me at the keyboard for my usual pre-dawn hours, but they were hours in which nearly nothing happened, at least in terms of adding pages. Since this little call for accountability less than two weeks ago, however, I’ve made more forward progress than I have in ages. (Matt Bell gives great writing advice. Maybe you’ve heard of his new book, Refuse to Be Done? Maybe you would like to subscribe to his newsletter, Writing Exercises?) And the forward progress helps, that feeling of momentum, as I’m looking forward to those days when other things feel that much more possible.